"But Joseph said to them, `Do not be afraid, for am I in God's place? And as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.'" Genesis 50:19,20)
"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28)
Scripture doesn't say God causes all things to happen. It says God causes all happenings in our lives to work together for good when we love Him. No matter how badly we mess up things, if we answer His call and demonstrate our love for Him, He exercises His Fatherly right to come to our rescue.
In Joseph's case, he would never have had an opportunity to become steward of all the wealth in Egypt if his brothers had not sold him as a slave. They acted out of jealousy, but God used their evil act to maneuver Joseph into the key position He had for him. Joseph loved God, and God worked all things in Joseph's life to come together for good.
How do we know if we are called according to His purpose? In the parable of the marriage feast (Matthew 22), Jesus shows us the desire of God's heart to share His riches with His people. In the Garden of Eden, God walked with Adam and Eve. He chose to do that. He wants to walk in fellowship with human beings, the highest form of His creation on earth.
But Adam and Eve disobeyed and forfeited their close relationship with God. Satan ran with that opportunity. Using temptation and deception, he brought man to a point of amorality. God decided to start anew. He chose a godly man and set him apart. He flooded the world and began again with Noah.
But Noah still had the Adamic nature to sin. It wasn't long until man fell away from God again. God then seemed to narrow His focus. He chose Abraham to begin a new nation of people. These people were to be known as the people of God. They were to love Him, to be led by Him and to glorify Him on earth.
Israel couldn't handle God's abundance. A cycle of abundance and bondage repeated itself until God sent Moses to lead His people to freedom. But, like us, they couldn't conform to the Ten Commandments. They were powerless to align themselves with God to enjoy relationship with Him.
So God sent His Son. Jesus opened the door once again, to all mankind. "Go therefore to the main highways, and as many as you find there, invite to the wedding feast. And those slaves went out into the streets, and gathered together all they found, both evil and good; and the wedding hall was filled with guests." (Matthew 22:9,10) That is the call of God.
God invited everyone to be wed to the Bridegroom. Yes, we have been called according to His purpose. Verse 14 states, "For many are called, but few are chosen." Unfortunately, few are chosen because only a few respond to His call. Most of us are too busy to respond. Many of us resent the intrusion. All of us are reluctant to submit to the guidelines of the call.
"If you love Me, you will keep My commandments." (John 14:15) "If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His love." (John 15:10)
We have been called, there is no doubt about that. And we have responded to His call; therefore, we are among the chosen, there is no doubt about that. The only thing in question is our love for God.
Jesus told us we demonstrate our love by keeping His commandments. He commanded us to love God and each other. We should be able to accomplish this on our own, but we can't. He gives us the solution in John 15:4. "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me."
Unless we abide in Jesus, not only are we unable to bear fruit, we are unable to accomplish anything at all of eternal value. Another word for abiding is centering. If we center on Christ, if we filter every event of every day through Him, He brings us the ability to love.
This isn't a call to a drastic change in lifestyle, it's a call to an awareness of what is already ours. We are called, God has a purpose for our lives, and Jesus is working in us, perfecting our ability to love. Knowing this, we rest in the assurance that God will cause everything that happens to work together for good.
Each of us who accepts God's call can take the same position as Joseph. When we experience an attack from the enemy, we can say, "You mean it for evil, but God will divert if for good, for God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose. I love him, and I am called according to His purpose!"
Jesus is King!
P.S. What are you doing of eternal value?
Question for today: Do I really believe I am chosen?